Deep-fried dangers: Firefighters warn to be cautious with your Thanksgiving cooking

Portland Fire & Rescue demonstrates the possible dangers of deep frying a turkey. (KPTV)

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and, as it turns out, firefighters.

That’s because Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for firefighters, due to cooking fires.

The National Fire Protection Association says being distracted or leaving food unattended are the main contributing factors to home cooking fires.

Deep-fried turkeys are another culprit.

FOX 12’s Tyler Dumont got an up-close look at the dangerous situation that can happen when a frozen turkey is dropped into hot oil Wednesday.

“What you saw there, basically, is the turkey goes in – moisture from the turkey is trying to expand at a really high rate. The oil being lighter than water encapsulates that and doesn't allow that water to get out until it pushes that oil right over the edge of that pot and hit the open flame. Once it hits that open flame, it lights on fire like you saw,” said Lt. Rich Chatman of Portland Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters say people often compound the problem by putting water on the fire. That can spread the burning oil, leading to more flames.

Instead, people are advised to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Firefighters also advise people frying a turkey to wear protective clothing, including gloves, an apron, closed-toe shoes and eyewear.

Fryers should also be put in an open area away from decks and houses, to reduce the risk of a fire spreading.

Thanksgiving is also a good time to check to make sure smoke detectors are working inside the home.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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